zodiac seasons

Your Guide to Scorpio Season

Notable Scorpios, clockwise from top: Björk, Georgia O’Keeffe, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maxine Hong Kingston, SZA. Photo-Illustration: by Preeti Kinha; Photos: Getty Images

Hello my friends, and welcome … to Scorpio season.

If you imagine me speaking those words as though I’m welcoming you to some kind of haunted mansion, you’re probably not alone. On Twitter, and in my emails, and in my own life, people talk about Scorpio season — the period when the sun is in Scorpio, from about October 23 to November 22 — as though it’s the darkest, gothest, most glamorously sinister time of the year. Though this reputation isn’t the whole story, it’s not totally unearned either. The scorpion is the most frightening of the astrological glyphs, and during this month, scary things happen with regularity — Halloween, for example, is always in Scorpio season. So is the U.S. presidential election.

But I’m here to tell you that there’s no need to fear Scorpio season. Scorpio energy holds some darkness, yes, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes, it can be bracing and healthy to acknowledge that evil exists in the world. Sometimes, we need intensity to jolt us out of our ruts. And fortunately, you don’t have to be a Scorpio to feel the effects of Scorpio season. So how can you expect it to affect you? And, more constructively, how can you use this energy?

The primary Scorpio characteristics are intensity, perceptiveness, and a quiet, assured kind of power. Scorpio has two ruling planets: Mars, the planet of action, aggression, and desire; and Pluto, the planet of transformation, rebirth, and our subconscious forces. People are often surprised to hear that Scorpio is not, as they assume, a bold and aggressive fire sign, but rather a water sign — which are typically perceptive, intuitive, and emotional. Scorpio energy is certainly intense and powerful, but it isn’t loud; rather, it has a deep, thrumming core of determination. Scorpio has a laser-sharp focus, a powerful drive, and a strong desire to probe and get to the bottom of things. Scorpio is about depth, not appearances. Scorpio isn’t afraid of anything, even the darkest truths.

Some Scorpio vibes, to help set the seasonal tone: Winona Ryder, a Scorpio, in Beetlejuice, brooding and goth in her all-black wardrobe and spiked-out bangs. Eve, a Scorpio, getting two paw prints tattooed on her chest, allegedly as a dare. Tilda Swinton, a Scorpio, talking to, caressing, and even licking coats in the performance piece “Cloakroom.” Björk, a Scorpio sun, moon, and rising (!), wearing her infamous swan dress to the Oscars and laying an egg on the red carpet.

More than anything else, you should expect this to be a season of intensity. This might mean that you’re not able or inclined to let things go. It might mean that you’re quicker to become jealous or suspicious. Don’t be surprised if other people in your life respond to your actions with this kind of intensity, too.

At its best, Scorpio season can lend you an energy of fearlessness: a refusal to be intimidated by anyone or anything, or to accept answers that are easy but untrue. You can use this energy to ask provocative questions to surprise people, to disrupt your own and other people’s social comfort. Scorpio season is the best astrological backdrop you could ask for if you want to go to parties alone, or enter new and intimidating social spaces, or shout down senators in restaurants.

Scorpio is often stereotyped as the most sex-focused of all the signs, and for sure, Scorpio season might have you feeling sexual in ways more intense than you’re used to. It might have you speaking the desires you’ve repressed, or finally acting on what your body has long wanted. But Scorpio desire doesn’t have to be only about sex itself, but about experiences of intimacy and intensity, about feeling a personal and immediate connection to the world in all its wildness and depth.

Depending on the rest of your astrological chart, all this intensity might or might not sound exactly fun, but either way it can be tremendously rewarding and freeing, if you let it. Scorpio season might ask you to refuse to settle for less than what you really desire — and to figure out what that actually is. If you’re typically focused on comfort, or on harmony, or on success and prestige, this season can offer an invitation to rethink this, to put all that aside. What is it you really desire? What is it you really need?

Your Guide to Scorpio Season